Romanoff for Senate

Gov. Bill Ritter has no shortage of names to choose from as he contemplates a replacement for Ken Salazar in the U.S. Senate.

We believe he should select Andrew Romanoff, the Denver Democrat and retiring speaker of the Colorado House.

In addition to the half-dozen politicos named as candidates last week, a host of other names have surfaced from Colorado residents.

Sen. John Elway, anybody?

The former Denver Broncos quarterback has been suggested on Web sites discussing the Senate seat, as have Republicans such as former Congressman Scott McInnis and retiring Congressman Tom Tancredo. However, none of the Republicans is likely to get the nod from a Democratic governor seeking to fill a Senate seat currently held by a Democrat.

Leading the public’s list of real potential contenders is Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper, according to a survey conducted last week by Public Policy Polling.

Hickenlooper is actually our second choice. He was a successful businessman in Denver before becoming mayor and is moderate enough to win substantial support from Republicans and independents, as well as Democrats. He has angered labor unions by refusing to kowtow to their every demand, and he has demonstrated solid administrative skills. He also recognizes the need for a strong economy and has recently worked with Gov. Ritter to select a bipartisan group to develop ideas for boosting the state’s economy. He would be a solid choice in the Senate.

Romanoff, however, has a more extensive record of working on issues that affect the entire state. He has joined with Western Slope lawmakers in seeking to protect water on this side of the Continental Divide, and has led the fight to try to untangle Colorado’s conflicting constitutional provisions. He teamed with former Gov. Bill Owens, a Republican, in pushing for Referendum C a few years ago to boost the state budget.

He’s known as an incredibly hard worker who has accomplished much as speaker and has won respect from politicians on both sides of the aisle.

Although he can’t match Hickenlooper’s business background, he also has a reputation as a political moderate and has managed to anger labor leaders, in part by killing legislation they supported which Romanoff believed was bad for the state.

We certainly haven’t agreed with Romanoff all the time. But as a lawmaker from Denver, he has repeatedly demonstrated an ability to look beyond his urban district, listen to people from other areas and consider what best serves the entire state.

That’s the sort of attitude needed in the U.S. Senate, and that’s why we hope Gov. Ritter will name him to replace Salazar.


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